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Architects Cannes, Too

By Published on .

The festival's top winner from Grafton Architects.
The festival's top winner from Grafton Architects.
In Barcelona last month, the organizer of the Cannes ad fest and architecture trade publisher, Emap, launched the first-ever World Architecture Festival, a showcase and competition for international buildings. Lord Norman Foster of Foster + Partners led the jury, which also included Zaha Hadid and Michael Sorkin of Terreform in New York City—both Foster and Hadid also picked up awards at the show, for the Smithsonian's rehabbed United States Patent Building in D.C. and for the Nordpark railway station in Austria, respectively.

Austria's Nordpark railway station, designed by Zaha Hadid.
Austria's Nordpark railway station, designed by Zaha Hadid.
The jury selected winners in 17 categories ranging from private houses to production structures and religious buildings, based on criteria derived from the Roman architect Vitruvius' principles of well-designed buildings: commodity, firmness and delight. (Translation: a building should serve the purpose for which it was designed and be soundly constructed while looking damn good.) From the 17 winners, a sub-jury selected the World Building of the Year: Grafton Architects' new faculty building for the Luigi Bocconi University in Milan, the Learning category top pick. Despite Grafton's Irish roots, the angular building, home to offices, public space and a subterranean concourse, was celebrated for its preserved sense of place, a seamless reference to the hard exteriors of Milan—making the inaugural best international building a testament to both old Roman ideals and present-day architecture's global dexterity.

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